Posts Tagged ‘funny’

I admit it – I have neglected this blog quite shamefully and it is almost exactly a year since my last post. Having our house on the market for two years and attempting to keep both house and large country garden under control for viewings took much of my time. But the main reason for not posting was that I had run out of things to say about writing and the writers’ condition. The online writing sites that I have used for the last twelve years or so have fallen into what can only be described as the doldrums and I have perceived a general lack of enthusiasm for giving and receiving feedback in this remote fashion.

That is not to say people aren’t being busy and successful! On the positive side, many members of my favourite site have now been published or have agents and potential publishing deals, so the process of online reviews has clearly been working well. I have had a few small successes of my own, including several shortlistings in Flash500, acceptance of a story into Twisted Tales 2016 and – tarantara – I won the Worcestershire Literary Festival’s Flash Fiction competition, with another story shortlisted. So that was nice! Sadly, the announcement was made at the launch of the Festival and, since I couldn’t be there because of moving house, one of the judges had to read my winning story. But there you go. I’ll be reading both stories at the launch of the anthology on Sunday 20th November, all being well.

The reason for posting now is that I have joined an actual live writing group in my small town and thought it was an opportunity to share this new experience. It’s a five-minute walk to the weekly venue so I have no excuse for not turning up, apart from family commitments, disasters and holidays. I have only been to one meeting so far because of the first of these, but I did do the homework, which is limited to 500 words on each occasion. I had also done the homework for my first meeting: to write a love scene.

My first thought on the subject was – AAARRRGGGHHH! I would never put myself in the position of writing such a thing, especially if it were to contain sex. I don’t enjoy reading sex scenes and I can’t imagine the horror of writing one. But when I had calmed down, I realised that a love scene needn’t contain sex and that many of my very short stories are love scenes of one sort or another. So I wrote a new one and read it aloud when my turn came around. It went down well, with hoots of laughter in all the right places, along with a collective groan at one intentionally sickly bit and even a tear from one member at the end. Who could ask for more? I also got some useful feedback, which I have used to tighten it up for submission to Flash500.

I was very impressed by the general standard of writing – and reading – within the group and all the feedback was pertinent and kindly given. Having become used to somewhat more brutal treatment via online groups, this made a refreshing change. But I do want the truth, 100% of the time. Anything else is of little use, but I must be careful how I phrase any criticisms. Coming from Yorkshire, this isn’t really in my DNA…

So my first experience of the writing group was overwhelmingly positive. My only problem arose during the usual end-of-session five-minute writing challenge. The topic was ‘a message to a particular member who is sick’ and could take any form. The fact that I had never met this person shouldn’t have been the barrier it became, but my mind went completely blank and I didn’t write a single word. The others managed some very entertaining, irreverent and poignant poems and prose and I felt really stupid for not producing anything.

This failure probably wouldn’t be a surprise to anyone who knows how I work. I’m not a jotter or drafter. If I have an idea for a story, I let it grow and develop in my mind until it is either forgotten or emerges fully formed and largely edited after a period of days, weeks or even months. I am extremely intimidated by the idea of writing ‘on-the-spot’, especially when everyone else gets their heads down and starts scribbling. It’s my recurrent exam nightmare all over again! When my turn to ‘show’ came round, I explained my predicament and was met with understanding and reassurance. Somebody said that the group is a safe place in which to try things out and no one should be anxious about any perceived failure, because it is about having a go and gradually building confidence. I hope I fare better on Thursday when the next challenge is set but if I don’t, I’m not going to beat myself up. I’ve managed three lots of homework on a given topic, something that is normally outside my ‘comfort zone’ – note the inverted commas, because the latest assignment is a maximum of 500 words using as many cliches as we can squeeze in. I’m not sure how this exercise benefits our writing but I’ve done it anyway. So I am already stretching myself a little further than usual and if the only benefit to my writing is that I achieve the odd submittable piece, it will be a good result.

I ought also to mention that it is lovely to meet new people and to share an experience, doing something at which we all want to improve. So no minuses, really. It gets me out of the house and away from the computer for a couple of hours and I heartily recommend it. So far…

Watch this space.

If you have any experiences of writing groups you’d like to share, please post a comment. Go on – scare me!

My humorous flash, The Farcebook Guide to Pregnancy and Childbirth, made the long list of Flash500 this quarter but not the short – my first submission not to do so. It isn’t deep or moving, it’s just a bit of fun, but I hope it gives you an idea of my views on social media. Don’t get me wrong, I use Facebook and Twitter, but I do think they encourage narcissism and superficiality in a world that doesn’t need any more of that. And don’t get me started on ‘selfies’…

Anyway, I hope it gives you a bit of a chuckle this fine Monday morning. You can read it here. All comments welcome.

eatingcoverfrontmedI really enjoyed my day as a selecting editor and found myself accepting a larger percentage than usual. I suspect this is because people have had much more practice at writing flash fiction than when we started FlashFlood in 2012 and the standard is generally higher. However, the majority of submissions were of the dead babies, dying spouse, thwarted love variety and there wasn’t as much humour as one might hope. The tragic stories also tend to be more well-written than the more light-hearted ones – possibly because they are written from the heart. But we have tried for a good balance of styles and subject matter so there is something for everyone. We do hope you enjoy reading them!

My story, A Matter of Taste, will be up sometime after 9am. Interestingly, during my stint as editor, a story with the same title and remarkably similar subject matter turned up in my Inbox! As this story has already been published in last year’s Twisted Tales and is also on Ether Books as One Man’s Meat, it set alarm bells ringing. I’d prefer to think it’s not a copycat but simply great minds thinking alike!

I am also thrilled to report that my flash fiction The Bedroom Tax was one of fifty selected for this year’s National Flash Fiction Day anthology, Eating My Words. I shall be rubbing shoulders with some of the best flashers in the game. You can find it now on Amazon in ebook and paperback format.

There are many NFFD events around the country in celebration of flash fiction. Last year I went to the one in Bristol, which was great fun and a chance to hear well-known and gifted flashers reading their work. There wasn’t a dead baby in sight and I laughed my socks off.

However you spend National Flash Fiction Day, have a good one!

 

N

(N,n) N stands for nipples, norks and nightie. And nylon stockings. It also stands for No, and is therefore used by the Catholic Church as a symbol of guilt and abstinence. There is no N in “priest”, which should come as no surprise, really, although there are two in “nine-year-old choirboy”.

Nelderick (n): A specially scooped golf club used for the violent removal of the brains of golfing fashion designers. It looks a little like a proil or an ice-cream scoop on a long and really whippy metal stick. The golfing fashion designer is tied to a ceremonial stake, and is struck in the face as hard as is humanly possible with the nelderick. The resulting mess is often spectacular, and forms a pattern which is then used as a design base for the clothing of women whose husbands spend most of their waking lives on golf courses aspiring to look like Payne Stewart did.

Nirtle (n, zool.): The shell opening through which a turtle sticks its head, or through which it withdraws its head when threatened. In desperate times, Pacific islanders have been known to use the nirtles of extremely scared turtles for sexual congress, although it should be remembered that the turtle has quite a sharp and often poisonous bite, and a screaming Pacific island man running around with a turtle’s shell hanging from his penis should receive immediate medical attention. Polynesian island females found favour with the French artist Paul Gauguin by their ability to suck turtle poison from the wounds of extremely aroused tourists, although it is possible that Gauguin was only pretending a turtle had bitten him.

Noosh (exclam): A word that entered the English language after a series of TV advertisements for Clarks Shoes. The catch-line, ‘New shoes?’ became the response of the male partner each time he found his own meagre section of closet space invaded by another pair of ridiculously expensive and impractical barbie-boots. At a certain stage in this relentless encroachment, the male is unable to utter the full phrase. ‘Noosh?’ accompanied by clenched fists, a boiled complexion and projectile spittle is a warning to the female partner to regulate her acquisitions or find a new benefactor.

Norgleflass (n): The feeling of barely concealed glee you feel when there’s a major fucking hippie bastard festival on just down the road and it starts absolutely wankering down with rain on Friday and the weatherman says it’s not going to stop until Monday, with associated gale force winds, hail, thunder, flooding and an unseasonable chill, and you know they’ll be dragging dreadlocked corpses and skinny dogs on strings out of the nearest estuary from now until next spring. The word dates back to the Norgleflass Festival in Denmark in 1975, at which three members of the Grateful Dead’s road crew drowned and nobody noticed until fourteen hippies all claimed their identities on payday.

Much naughtier Ns can be found in Hand-Knitted Electricity for a modest sum.

Mmmmmm…

Posted: March 13, 2013 in Humour
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M

(M,m) M stands for Marshall Mathers (Eminem), and for Milo Minderbinder (M & M Enterprises off of Catch-22). As such, M is a controversial letter, frequently bugged by the FBI and demonstrated against by women and the poor. The government recently introduced a range of sweets called M&Ms in an effort to dilute the anarchy associated with the letter, backdating their “history” to the 1930s in a dangerously Orwellian piece of popular culture reinvention which had conspiracy theorists all in a tizzy. Blue M&Ms were banned as they contained a mixture of nutra-ceramides and LSD, and Steve Tyler off of Aerosmith refuses to eat brown ones.

Marzely (adj): Descriptive of the feeling resulting from eating one too many deep fried Mars Bars

Hugh McBride had much call to regret his choice of snack, for he instantly felt marzely and within moments had vomited onto the chaise longe.

– Sir Walter Scott, Heart of Midlothian.

Meffulence n. the ability to subvert any topic of conversation to talking about oneself. For example, in a discussion about whether the Beatles or the Rolling Stones were more influential in rock music the meffulent will say something like, “Well, I never liked the Stones much. And with good reason. Had a stone in my shoe last week and it tore a huge hole in my tights.”

Mimp:

1 (n): A mime artist with stage fright

2 (n, prop): The real name of the high priest of the Illuminati known in Australia as dwiw

Misanthemum (n): A homicidal pot plant

Morbel (n): An unusually pretty female whose beauty is only skin deep. She has a destructive – even malign – personality, and long periods spent in her company can result in serious mental health issues and/or death. Most men have a morbel or two lurking somewhere in their past, and most men carry permanent emotional scarring because of them. The world’s most famous morbel is probably Monica Lewinsky.

Many More Ms can be found in Hand-Knitted Electricity (A Dictionary of Linguistic Absurdities).

L-O-L!

Posted: February 21, 2013 in Humour
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L

(L,l) A letter extremely popular with the Welsh and in Catalan regions of north-east Spain. It is believed that the letter was invented by Salvador Dali in 1931 to set him apart from Welsh people called Dai, but the invention resulted in a fistfight between Dali and Picasso, which eventually led to the Spanish Civil War

Linidinian (n, mus.) The technical name for the little drum roll and cymbal bash used to emphasise the punch lines of really bad comedians who are desperately attempting to hold the attention of a stag party crowd as they wait for the stripper.

Lockstormworthy 

1 (adj): Descriptive of a tornado-belt trailer-caravan which has been rendered stormproof by virtue of having been pre-destroyed before building. The trailer is constructed in the form of a half-mile trail of debris, and it’s inhabitants, Bud, LaDestiny and the twins, Bubba and Bubba, are then humanely destroyed and reported missing. The saving in food stamps, welfare payments and rehousing costs can then be pumped back into society and given back to the banks for re-investment. For more details, see the Wicked Witch Trading Company Inc website at We’reNotInKansasAnymore.com.

2 (n): An ecologically sound chastity belt, lightweight and biodegradable, yet capable of withstanding assault by an entire battalion of stormtroopers.

Lychinhampton (n, prop): A botanical garden just a short walk away from Kew which is less well-known because it produces only rude and disgusting fruit and vegetables and as such entry is restricted to the over-18s.

The Lychinhampton courgette-and-double-artichoke combination can be found next to the enormous pear and the gigantic set of melons. Lychinhampton Bananas are trained to grow straight and maintain an angle that juts a little above the horizontal. They are situated next to the burst figs. Cucumbers dangle among the soft peaches, and there are private cubicles available to couples who become overwhelmed with the whole Carry On Nature thing.

Lychinhampton also holds unofficial dogging evenings in the car park (First and third Tuesdays – in the summerhouse if wet).

Hand-Knitted Electricity_Cover_MEDIUMNB. From now on, extracts will be posted weekly. If you can’t wait that long, you can get ahead of the crowds by buying Hand-Knitted Electricity. Don’t forget to buy a spare copy for the birthday you always forget until it’s too late. Or for Mother’s Day, 10th March. Don’t get caught with your pants down again this year!

Special K

Posted: February 20, 2013 in Humour
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K

(K,k) K is an insidious letter, often used to give some innocent sounding word overtones of Eastern European totalitarianism – see atomik, Amerika, Kalifornia and Ku Klux Klan. Children in the UK are not allowed to use the letter K until secondary school.  A campaign was instigated by Senator Eugene McCarthy in the late 1950s to banish the letter from the alphabet for being un-American, but the plan was quietly shelved after McCarthy was discovered stamping on kittens in the Ambassador suite of the Riot Hyatt in Los Angeles during the gubernatorial primaries just after Labour Day 1962.

 

Ker-Splunk (n, prop): A game popular in modern dogging circles. The idea is that a group of gentlemen drop their car keys into a bowl of fresh semen and their wives fish them out one at a time with their teeth. Whoever owns the car keys then has to lick the woman’s face clean before driving home alone and in tears. The game was first popularised in Eighteenth century Austria, where, under the auspices of Leopold von Sacher-Masoch, rich members of the gentry were encouraged to drop their horse-bridles into barrels of tepid semolina and their wives were ordered to fish them out using only their mouths. The unfortunate owner of the horse was then forced to watch while someone else rode his wife home instead.

Kleap (n, prop): A combined toilet and bidet, invented in 1877 by Klaus Kleap of Hamburg. The system pumped water upwards after receiving a deposit, therefore cleaning the user’s behind, but went disastrously wrong when the prototype was demonstrated at the Klingerhöfen Science Festival. Unfortunately it pumped the raw sewage back up the anus of Count Otto Von Strumm, who had volunteered for the demonstration. After several months of recuperation the Count recovered but was forever after referred to as being “full of shit”. Kleap retired from inventing in disgrace and died in poverty some years later.

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